The Covenant threat now looms over Eclipse. Roughneck Two-Zero has beat off wave after wave of Covenant in Cote d'Azur on Reach. They were pulled out before the mythical Spartans armed and detonated a HAVOK Tactical Nuclear Warhead in the sewage systems. Before Reach was glassed, the Pillar of Autumn and her precise cargo, Spartan-117, jumped into a randomized vector, per Cole Protocol Article One. They were never heard from again. The Covenant gave chase after this lone ship, and gave the Fleet optimal time to evacuate Reach of all 13 million inhabitants, and all UNSC personnel and jumped to Eclipse. In defense of Eclipse, one third of the populace volunteered for active duty. On Reach, Roughneck Two-Zero was demolished. Only twelve of the original 50 remain. Few replacements have come, and when they do, the members of Roughneck Two-Zero try not to get too close; most replacements die within two drops.
Chapter I: Dude, your colon sucks
1630 Hours, January 2, 2553 (Military Calendar)/
"Men, our frontlines are collapsed. We're going back in." A low moan and groan filled the room. "The 7th is at risk of being overrun. We're going back in to fill the 'bulge' that has been placed in the line. We leave in twenty minutes. I have Blue and Zeus has Red." The members of Roughneck Two-Zero left the briefing hall and headed towards their armory. They grabbed MA5B standard issue assault rifles, M6D pistols with 2x zoom, Jackhammer missile sytems, M90 shotguns, fragmentation grenades, and SC AM sniper rifles with 10x zoom. The soldiers placed their gear on their locker tops, popped the locker open, extracted their body armor and matte-black insulator suits. They inserted there bodies into the suits and began placing their body armor on, a process which would take fifteen minutes. The double-doors and the end of the armory silently slid open and in walked Reco Johnson. "Nike, Anubis. Go grab two Hogs and meet us top side at the dropships." "Sir yes Sir." Nike and Anubis rushed out of the armory and ran down the hall. They came to an eleator and walked in. Anubis tapped a holopanel and the elevator slowly descended. The elevator descended two stories into the heart of the mountain which was "HQ Delta Storm." The elevator opened up to reveal a cavern in the mountain about a kilometer in length and almost twice that in height. Rows of Warthogs, Pelicans, Scorpion MBTs, Longsword interceptors and gear lined the walls and buildings. Nike and Anubis proceeded towards a Guard Station and under went intense retina, taste bud, finger print, and brainwave tests to verify ID. They were admitted and walked over to a pear of Warthogs that lined the edge of a wall that numbered eight Hogs. The two engines hummed and roared to life as the Warthogs slowly pulled out of the parking spaces. They drove to the far edge of the cavern towards a door that lead to an elevator. The hu-normous doors slid open and the Warthogs slowly proceeded to advance upon the platform. The platform ascended the two stories to the surface. The two meter thick Titanium A doors slid open to reveal two parallel rows of Pelican drop ships.
They attached their Warthogs to their designated Pelicans and boared the two Pelicans. Reco Johnson watched as Blue team boared their Pelican and Red climbed oboard their separate Pelican. He then looked at the rest of the teams board their Pelicans, and thought of there families, although he had never meet them. Some of them would never return. Reco climbed oboard his Pelican and noticed his technician, Gizmo, was fidgeting with his seat straps. Reco leaned over and yanked the straps out of Gizmo's hands. He thrust one end of the strap towards the other and clamped then tight. Gizmo looked up and caught a glimpse of his tattoo. It wasnt exactly "his" tattoo. It was the Squad's Insignia Tattoo, much like the ODSTs. The tattoo was called "Hammer Down." It depicted Thor's hammer slamming into a unkown target. Running parallel to the tattoo, written in Chinese calligraphy, were the words "Hammer Down," hence the name of the tattoo. Reco looked over his squad. "Hey, Ares! How do you feel bro?" Reco inquired. Ares looked up, startled, and replied, "Like ####." He looked at Nike. Nike saved him on three occasions. Reco couldnt say enough about him except that he owed his life to him. He looked over at Jimmy Izanagi. Izanagi holstered his yard long Sniper rifle. He had killed many Covenant with it. It was stained with their blood. Athena was one of the fastest in the squad, aside from Nike. She also had one of the best aims, but was steady enough to wield a Sniper rifle. Reco and Thor grew up together, went through basic together, and were lucky enoguh to both be placed in Roughneck Two-Zero. Zeus' squad consisted of Zeus, Hades, Isis, Apolo, Zethus, and Anubis. The flight of Pelicans slowly ascended and propelled towards the action. It would be ten minutes till they arrived.
1658 Hours, January 2, 2553 (Military Calendar)/
Red hot plasma bolts sliced the air. The plasma stuck its target, a Pelican drop ship. The armor plating melted and formed into molten slag. A salvo was 5 blue orbs were launched into the air. One nearly destroyed Red team. 186th ODST, Gold team, however, wasnt so lucky. The blue orb struck the Pelican, and it immediately tail whipped. Flaming corpses were catapulted from the Pelican. Just more dead. Just more chaos. Ares stomache lurched. He, like many tohers, including Reco, had seen to much. Too much death. Too much pain. Too much fighting. Too much blood. Too much everything. The eleven remaining Pelicans slowly descended towards the ground. "Touchdown! Go go go!" Blue teams Warthog dropped a few feet before hitting solid ground, and they immediately ran for cover. Blue team escaped the Pelican without any casualties. This was not the case for Red team. Hades jumped out of his seat and onto the ground. Almost simualtaneuously, three plasma bolts struck him. Two in the chest, and the last in the head. A hole the size of a quarter dollar dominated his forehead. The rim of the hole sizzled and bubbled. Zeus pounced upon the limp body and flung him in the Pelican. They too ran for cover.
Reco ducked behind a rock. Three plasma bolts of inferno passed by his foot. "Hello no. Oh Hell nah! You did not... just shoot that green at me!" Reco charged out of hiding place, ducked, tucked and rolled and crouched right under the Grunt that had shot at him. He placed his muzzle under the Grunts throat and fired a three round burst. The Grunt fell over backwards and dropped dead. Blue team, flanked by Red, Yellow, Green, and Black advanced towards a five foot barrier of earth. The slumped on the barrier and ferociously dug a "window" to have a better view. They laid down suppressive fire in the direction of which the plasma bolts came from. The Covenant and Human forces were both hunkered down fairly well. Nike hopped into his Warthog, with Athena riding gunner. He launched off the barrier and raced for the Covenant lines. A flight of Banshees took off from the "base" that the Covenant had provided for themselves to oppose the formation of Warthogs. Ten of the fifteen Banshees were immediately shot down by the 50mm cannons on the Warthogs. Ares grabbed his chaingun and began to spray spiradic fire into the air, desperately praying to hit a Banshee. One Banshee dove at Nike and Athena and fired a Fuel Rod blast. The impact impaled the Warthog and sent it tumbling into a roll. Athena was thrown from the gunners position and was crushed under the weight of the Hog. Two Roughnecks down. Nike took cover behind the Warthog and periodically poked up and fired a few rounds. "Lets go! Red team, cover us! Lets get Nike and Athena out of there!" Reco lead the charge into no mans land. He ducked behind a boulder that was large. Fifty meters away. "Stay here, cover me." Blue and Red teams took up positions behind rocks and fired widlly, laying down suppressive fire. Reco ran from cover and ran for the over turned Warthog. Reco was struck with a round of plasma, as was Ares, but kept moving. Thirty meters. He began to limp but kept running. Twenty. Ten. He dove behind the Warthog as a salvo of plasma passed his body. He grabbed a packet of bio-foam from his pocket and placed it in his wounds. "Ares! Get over here! Blue and Red, lay down cover! Now!" Ares dropped his weapon and began to run. Despite his wounds, he ran fiarly fast. He must have patched himself up with some bio-foam also. With the combined strength of Ares, Nike, and Reco, they managed to overturn the Hog. Reco took the dirvers seat, Nike limped over to the passangers, and Ares hopped into the gunners. "Pull back Red! Pull back in ten Blue!" "Roger that Sir." Red gradually pulled back to the barrier, followed by Blue.
2300 Hours, January 2, 2553 (Military Calendar)/
The black of night was upon the battle field. The faint glow of plasma was all that illumated the blacker than black night of Eclipse. The faint hues of green, blue, and purple were beautfil, yet dangerous. Reco managed to bury Athena and Hades befor dusk, and they were given a soldiers burial. Many hough it was wasteful of munitions to give tham a twenty one gun salute. Reco didnt care what the ODSTs or other Marines thought. Athena and Hades were like family to him. Bodies strewn the ground, Marine and alien. The stench was awful. Reco sent out a patrol with ten drums of Lotus Anti Tank Mines. They were given strict orders to "miantain radio silence, and operate under infrared." Given the situation, that order was obsolite. A dense and heavy rain drenched the battlefield. Thor placed a wet hand up to his face. He couldnt see it. "Reco, I cant see a thing." "Be quite soldier." "Sir, I can see a damn thing and I can smell them." "Dead bodies smell. Now be quite soldier." "Sir, I can smell them. They are creeping up on us. Get some illumination out here." "If i get illumination, will you shut up?" "Sir, yes sir." "Get me illumination. Coordinates are 05.000172146.006. Repeat, illumination, coordinates 05.000172146.006. Over and out." A barrage of three flares were propelled into the ngith sky. A faint hue of green enveloped the battle field. Not ten meters from the barrier, a whole division of Grunts, cannon fodder, and formed up. "Fire at will!" The whole line opened up, ripping into the lines of Grunts. Some Grunts ran, feeling that all was lost since they no longer had the element of suprise. Most stayed... to their deaths. Zeus pulled out a bandalier of grenades. He pulled the pin of only one. He flung the bandalier into the lines. The grenade blew up, causing a massive chain reaction. "Artillery! Previously establish coordinates. Repeat, I need artillery at previously established coordinates." A salvo of artillery bombarded the Grunt lines. Ten seconds later, another one struck home. The Covenant were in deep ####. One Grunt even knew it, and yelled out, "Awww! Deep ####!" and ran away, only to be tore down by Ares' chaingun. A steady stream of fire had been exchanged for a good minute. "Cease fire!" The lines gradually ceased fire, and as the smoke cleared, no Covenant was seen.